Chang: Prominent Democrats Consider Joining GOP
Hawaii Welfare Tops Nation at $29.13 per Hour
1959: Martin Luther King Jr Salutes Hawaii Statehood
Riding Around in the Wrong Circles
Lab Rats in Dangerous Social Experiment
Hunting bills introduced in House
Faleomavaega Still Finds Ways to Travel
DelaCruz Land Swap Bill Brings Rail, Big Cable together in One Deal
SA: In a creative land swap, the state would trade about 925 acres near the planned East Kapolei rail station to Castle & Cooke for redevelopment in return for some 20,000 acres of Dole Food Co. land between Wahiawa and the North Shore that would be preserved for agriculture and conservation.
State Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who is proposing the land exchange, contends it would help achieve the transit-oriented development necessary for the success of the Honolulu rail project and advance the state’s interest in protecting agriculture and open space from urban encroachment.
The Abercrombie administration has separately been working with the Trust for Public Land and a renewable energy developer on a more conventional $175 million purchase of the Dole land. The state had worked with public and private interests in December 2012 to acquire more than 1,700 acres of nearby Galbraith Estate land.
(The 'Renewable Energy Developer' is NextEra, which proposes to build the Big Cable project. This land swap puts the North Shore in the hands of a green energy scammer.)
Related: Whitewash: State of State Transcript Deletes Reference to Big Cable Deal
State of the State Speech: “I am requesting general obligation funds to enable the state to work with a renewable energy company, NextEra, to purchase agricultural and conservation lands currently owned by the Dole Company – nearly 20,000 acres of open space between Wahiawa and Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu.”
read ... Land Swap
Waikiki parade honors Martin Luther King Jr.
KHON: Want to do a parade right, you need a band. The United States Army helped make that happen.
Hundreds and hundreds of clubs, unions, and just plain people took part in this year's Martin Luther King, Jr. parade, honoring his amazing accomplishments.
"He was fearless in saying what was wrong with this country, but only because he wanted to have us all engage in making it right," said Rep. Byron Rushing (D) Massachusetts.
Rep. Rushing and his wife, Frieda Garcia, served as Co-Grand Marshals
read ... Parade
Star-Adv: Don’t give mayors authority over GET
SA: The best course for the Legislature is to raise the cap on how much of the revenue from the transient accommodations tax — known as the TAT or the “hotel room tax” — goes to the counties. They should receive at least the $141 million that House Speaker Joseph Souki proposed last week, instead of the limit set at $93 million as it is now.
But there is part of the mayors’ advocacy that their constituents should not endorse. They are also seeking the authority to enact a permanent surcharge on the state general excise tax (GET) of up to 1 percentage point, though all said they do not intend to do so now.
This would work against the public interest. The GET is a broad tax, applied at every transaction stage in commercial activity, so a permanent increase would weigh down economic growth and disproportionately affect lower-income residents.
read ... No New Taxes
Murderer Got out of Prison on Medical Excuse, Suddenly Got Better
SA: He was one of Hawaii’s more infamous prisoners.
A lawsuit he filed against the state wound up before the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices in a key 1983 ruling determined that states have a nearly unrestricted right to transfer prisoners to other states.
Delbert Wakinekona, who was given a life sentence with a 30-year minimum for a 1970 murder conviction, was granted a compassionate release in October 2011. By then he had spent more than 40 years behind bars, mostly on the mainland.
In supporting Wakinekona’s release, a prison physician (WHO?) told paroling authorities that the inmate, suffering from end-stage liver disease, probably would live no more than 30 days, according to retired attorney Bob Merce, who helped Wakinekona gain his freedom.
...release was granted Oct. 28, 2011.... Wakinekona ended up living more than two years. (Surprise!) He died this month at age 69....
Because it took six months to gain Delbert Wakinekona’s release, (So the Doc was off by 29 mos.) Merce said he drafted a bill to make the system more efficient and fair, and the measure was introduced in the 2012 session. It didn’t pass. A similar bill was introduced last year but likewise didn’t pass, carrying over to the current session.
Text, Status: HB 255
SA: Soft on Crime Advocates seek revised rules on setting (allegedly) dying inmates free (Why don't these 'advocates' offer the Manoa Rapist a job and a spare room to stay in?)
read ... Parollee
Maui Homeless Tent City Squatters claim land belongs to 'Hawaii Kingdom'
KITV: Right on the edge of the main drag through Wailuku sits a sprawling plot of land, more than 30 acres, taken up and taken over by nearly 200 people....
“The mill was right there, this was all cane,” explained Laverne Enomoto, who been above the shantytown for more than 50 years.
She told KITV reporter Lara Yamada, ever since the plantation shut down decades ago, she's seen it grow and grow.
“I do have mixed feelings. All my life I used to play in there when I was young,” she said....
Residents call the area Piihana Properties and said it’s owned by the Hawaiian Kingdom.
But by all other accounts, it's owned by Oahu developer Stanford Carr, who now wants to develop the 34 acres of land.
Sheriffs told KITV they've ben warning people for months that evictions were imminent.
“I've been asked to assist with the eviction because I’m familiar with the people in there and most of them are homeless,” said Lt. Patrick Sniffen.
Maui papers and court documents show the landowner has racked up millions of dollars in fines in recent years for sanitation violations and the building of illegal structures.
read ... Squatters
School Funding: Only Hawaii doesn’t use property taxes
AJ: If the state legislature adopts the Property Tax Independence Act, Pennsylvania would join Hawaii as the only states that don’t rely on property taxes to partially fund education.
A review of education funding methods for all 50 states reveals all but Hawaii rely on real estate taxes to some extent to fund public schools, but to what extent varies by state.
read ... Property Taxes
Tobacco a $100M Cash Cow for State
KITV: Some adult smokers feel they've already been burned by the state, with bans at bars and beaches.
Now they feel they are being targeted simply because they are smokers.
"If people know the health consequences of smoking and its their decision, then I don't think the state should get involved in that," said Kaneohe resident Steven Burgess.
While the governor says Hawaii needs to end this smoking epidemic, the money allocated towards smoking prevention tells a different story.
Hawaii only spends about $8 million a year on smoking prevention efforts.
Money that comes from the tobacco settlement fund which was reached 15-years ago.
Meanwhile, the state takes in more than $100 million dollars each year collecting taxes on cigarettes.
"I'm gonna say maybe cut out smoking altogether," said Kuliouou resident Ted Tokumine."But on the state level maybe that's a cash cow."
Read ... Tobacco Illegal, Marijuana Legal
Enviros Paid to Catch Sharks, Torture them
MN: Around 6 a.m., the team launched into the harbor in a 17-foot Boston Whaler to "set the lines." Each line is more than 1,600 feet long and has 10 hooks baited with fish heads and other scraps that the researchers have collected from local fish markets. The crew put out a total of three lines Tuesday morning in waters up to 240 feet deep and three miles offshore before returning to Kahului Harbor.
The team usually leaves the lines out no more than three hours because, if the lines are left out for too long, the sharks caught will get weak and start to die, Meyer said.
Around 10 a.m, the team set back out to retrieve the lines.
It's a grueling process and one that can take all day, depending on how many sharks have been hooked.
Hypocrites: Anti-Aquarium Nuts Attack Big Isle Fisherman For Catching Delicious Tiger Shark
read ... They’re incredible animals